“If you’re a hardcore metal fan, you’ll know about The 3rd And Mortal, but they weren’t widely known within the metal scene – they were on a very small label, and the music was quite underground, with long songs, not very radio friendly.
“But I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that Nightwish wouldn’t exist without them. They were from Norway and were categorised as ‘atmospheric metal’ – they were very doomy, melodic, dark, not at all symphonic, but with a beautiful female voice. I heard them, and thought, ‘I want to do something similar.’
“Tears Laid In Earth was their first album. I was 17 when I first heard a song called Why So Lonely on the radio in Finland. There was a lot of darkness in my life at that point, and I related to that. And the next week I went and bought the CD. It took me to a whole different world – it was so beautiful and so dark. And when you combine those two things, that’s the kind of music I like.
“They only made four albums before splitting up, and none of them really sound like this – they went more experimental and jazzy. But the most incredible thing happened a few years ago. We played a festival in their hometown, and the promoter knew my obsession with them, so he brought the whole original line-up backstage to meet me. They hadn’t seen each other for 12 years. It was emotional for everybody.
“Whenever I listen back to this album, I get the same kick I did back then. Of course there’s a lot of nostalgia there – it takes me back to 1994 and all the stuff I was going through. But it’s also just a great album that everyone should listen to.”